Reboots and remakes tend to outnumber original content these days and often times they simply can’t live up to the films or shows on which they’re based. It’s always a challenge when you’re trying to meet the expectations that come with a beloved classic. So, Hulu took things in a slightly different direction for their “remix” of White Men Can’t Jump.
Hulu describes the new film as a modern retelling of the 1992 film that celebrates the streetball hustling culture of Los Angeles. Instead, this film takes that general concept and creates its own story with very different characters and emotional beats.
The story of this film starts and ends with its two leads. Sinqua Walls and Jack Harlow fill the shoes of Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson, and they do an admirable job in doing so. Both actors succeed in drawing the audience in and charming their way to keeping eyes locked on them. Their chemistry is great and while they may not be as iconic as their predecessors, they certainly carry the film in the same way.
That being said, they are carrying a very different film. Yes. the general premise of black and white teammates slowly learning to understand each other as they play together is there, but their circumstances and motivations are very different. There are plenty of nods to the original film for fans to enjoy, but don’t go into this one expecting to see an exact remake.
In fact, this film may have been better off with another title. It doesn’t even follow any sort of storyline the title would suggest, removing the thread of Billy being able to dunk. Separating itself from comparisons to the original may have been the right move but now those will always be there and that’s a tough hill to climb.
While this film is more of a dramedy, the humor hits far more often than it misses. Walls and Harlow play off of one another very well and their banter is sure to get a laugh or two. Plus, Myles Bullock and Vince Staples, are thrown in as the comic relief and they deliver some great moments. It’s not a movie you’re going to be quoting to your friends the next day, but it will give you a few good laughs.
And speaking of the supporting cast, both Laura Harrier and Teyana Taylor shine in their limited roles as the significant others of our leads. They both add an element of heart and add some stakes that are not otherwise there throughout this film. They also do a great job of delivering two of the most emotional scenes in the film, again adding to its weight.
Overall, Hulu’s White Men Can’t Jump is certainly not the original, but rather an enjoyable film on its own. Fans of the original will get enough to make them happy, but it will be tough for this “remix” to live up to the 1992 classic. Still, the leading men to a greats job and the supporting cast add a lot of depth. It’s also nice to see semi-believable basketball in a movie, which, prior to this film, was seemingly impossible to execute.
White Men Can’t Jump will premiere on Hulu on May 19th.